Report 2013-110 Recommendation 15 Responses

Report 2013-110: Child Welfare Services: The County Child Welfare Services Agencies We Reviewed Must Provide Better Protection for Abused and Neglected Children (Release Date: April 2014)

Recommendation #15 To: Orange County Social Services Agency

To improve the timeliness and accuracy of SDM assessments, the Orange County CWS agency should ensure that its supervisors are promptly reviewing assessments.

1-Year Agency Response

Emergency Response (ER) managers reviewed Structured Decision Making (SDM) Policy and Procedure (P&P) Number D-0311 and California SDM Manual with ER and Differential Response (DR) supervisors and social workers at an all staff meeting June 5, 2014.

Social Services Agency (SSA) fine-tuned its system to document supervisory oversight of SDM assessments. A new section was added to the existing Investigation Narrative tool in May 2014. This section requires social workers to document consultations with supervisors, including dates.

SSA revised the SDM P&P to outline additional supervisory oversight requirements, including timely consultation with supervisors and required documentation. The revised P&P was finalized/published on July 31, 2014. All ER/DR staff was trained on the revised policy.

SSA again revised the SDM P&P in March 2015, specifying the requirement for supervisors to approve all Safety Assessments within seven days. Social workers remain required to seek supervisory approval of Safety Plans before leaving the family's home or, if unsuccessful, within 24 business hours.

All ER/DR managers and supervisors were trained on the new version of Safe Measures by August 2014. They began utilizing Safe Measures at a minimum of once per month to track/monitor SDM information, including timely and accurate completion/approval.

SSA developed an ER audit tool to monitor usage of the SDM tools and supervisory oversight. The Quality Support Team (QST) completed the first audit of ER/DR practices (October 2014). A second audit is currently being conducted. The ER/DR manager and supervisors also completed reviews using the ER audit tool in January 2015.

  • Estimated Completion Date: May 2015
  • Response Date: April 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

The Orange County CWS agency revised its policy to require supervisors to promptly review SDM assessments. In addition, it implemented a review tool for its managers to use to verify that supervisors are approving the SDM assessments as required.


6-Month Agency Response

Emergency Response (ER) managers reviewed the Structured Decision Making (SDM) requirements included in the SDM Policy and Procedure (P&P) Number D-0311 and California SDM Manual with ER and Differential Response (DR) supervisors and social workers at an all staff meeting on June 5, 2014.

Orange County SSA has fine-tuned its system to document supervisory oversight of SDM assessments. A new section was added to the existing investigation narrative tool on May 28, 2014. This section requires social workers to document consultations with supervisors, including dates.

SSA revised the SDM P&P to outline additional supervisory oversight requirements, including timely consultation with supervisors and required documentation. These requirements were reviewed with staff on June 5, 2014. The revised P&P was finalized and published on July 31, 2014. All ER/DR staff was trained on the revised P&P during the months of August and September 2014.

All ER managers and supervisors were trained on the new version of Safe Measures in July 2014. The DR manager and all supervisors were trained in August 2014. Effective August 31, 2014, ER/DR managers and supervisors began utilizing Safe Measures at a minimum of once per month to review SDM information, including timely and accurate completion/approval.

SSA has developed an ER audit tool which will be used by managers, supervisors, and the Quality Support Team (QST).

QST will complete semi-annual audits in October 2014 and April 2015 to monitor usage of the SDM tools and supervisory oversight.

  • Estimated Completion Date: April 2015
  • Response Date: October 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

Emergency Response (ER) managers reviewed the Structured Decision Making (SDM) requirements included in the SDM Policy and Procedure (P&P) and California SDM Manual with supervisors and social workers at an ER all staff meeting on June 5, 2014.

Orange County SSA has fine-tuned its system to document supervisory oversight of SDM assessments. A new section was added to the existing investigation narrative tool on May 28, 2014. This section requires social workers to document consultations with supervisors, including dates.

Orange County SSA consulted with the California Research Center regarding tracking mechanisms in Safe Measures that may assist with timely supervisor approvals of SDM assessments. It was determined that Safe Measures has an "alert notification" feature available to remind supervisors when referrals require closure. SSA is determining how/if these alerts will be utilized.

ER managers and supervisors will be trained on the new version of Safe Measures by July 31, 2014. ER managers and supervisors will utilize Safe Measures at minimum of once per month to review SDM information. This practice will be implemented by August 2014.

Orange County SSA is developing an ER audit tool that will monitor accuracy and timely approval of SDM tools. This will be used by supervisors, managers, and the Quality Support Team (QST). It is anticipated that the tool will be fully developed by July 2014.

QST will complete semi-annual audits in October 2014 and April 2015 to monitor usage of the SDM tools and supervisory oversight.

  • Estimated Completion Date: April 2015
  • Response Date: June 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2013-110

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.


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